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Call for withdrawal of biometric verification for Umrah aspirants

Islamabad, November 01, 2017 (PPI-OT):A delegation of local Travel Agents Association visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and said that Saudi Arabia has made biometric verification mandatory for Pakistani Umra aspirants which has created lot of problems for them and called upon the Pakistani authorities to take up this issue with Saudi Arabia for its urgent withdrawal.

The delegation members said that the new Umrah policy of Saudi Arabia have bound Pakistani citizens aspiring for Umrah to get themselves biometrically verified from designated verification centers before applying for visa as without such verification, they would not be able to submit applications to Saudi Embassy for Umrah visas. They said the centers providing biometric verification service were located only in federal and provincial capitals and the Umrah aspirants from all over the country have to go to these centers which was a troublesome experience for them.

They said due to the imposition of this new condition, Umrah aspirants have to wait for long hours to get biometrically verified. They said the Umrah aspirants have to also wait for several days for verification results which was a miserable experience for them. They said the biometric verification was costing Rs.600 to Rs.700/per person as verification fee, but verification centers were without required capacity and facilities including proper seating arrangements due to which especially the old people were facing great difficulties. They stressed that Chamber should take up this issue with the relevant authorities for urgent redress.

Addressing the delegation, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that large number of Pakistanis want to go for Umrah in winter season, but the new Umrah visa policy of Saudi Arabia has created great problems for them. He called upon the Saudi authorities to reconsider condition of biometric verification for Pakistani Urmrah aspirants to save from further troubles. He said if the biometric verification was essential, NADRA should be authorized to do this job as it has presence in urban and rural areas of the country and people would be facilitated in getting verification from its offices.

He said travel agents and Umrah-bound pilgrims were protesting across the country against this move of Saudi Arabia and emphasized that Pakistani authorities should intervene to find out a workable solution of this problem. Muhammad Naveed Senior Vice President and Nisar Mirza Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Iran, Egypt, India and Bangladesh have reportedly rejected biometric verification for their citizens and urged that Pakistan should also take up this issue on urgent basis with Saudi Arabia to facilitate its Umrah-bound pilgrims.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI)
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526, 2253145, 8432676
Fax: +9251 225 2950
Email: icci@brain.net.pk
Website: www.icci.com.pk

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